A homemade Mother’s Day brunch By Stacey Stein Preparing a homemade brunch in honour of your mom is a surefire way to make her feel extra-special on Mother’s Day. The meal doesn’t need to be complicated – mom will be touched by the thought, and if you’re hosting other family too, a brunch at home is more relaxing for everyone. “Keep it simple,” advises registered dietitian Shannon Crocker. “The day is more about being together with your family.” Mother’s Day falls during spring, so you can also “go local” with your brunch by incorporating fresh, seasonal ingredients. Here are a few ideas for spring-themed brunch dishes that are sure to leave your mom feeling satisfied and happy. Something sweet Springtime in Canada is strongly associated with “sugaring off”, the process of collecting sap from maple trees and turning it into maple syrup. Here are three ways you can incorporate this sweet stuff into your Mother’s Day brunch: These French toast canapés call for a blueberry butter topping, but you can make this dish even more seasonal by using a rhubarb butter. Be sure to simmer down the rhubarb first or you can use a rhubarb compote, blending this with the butter. You can make healthy parfaits using Nordica Smooth (try the vanilla bean flavour). Top with some rhubarb compote, which you can make in a few minutes by combining rhubarb, sugar and fresh lemon juice in a saucepan and stirring until the sugar dissolves, then simmering until the rhubarb is tender. For the finishing touch, add some toasted walnut crumbs and a drizzle of maple syrup. Try serving in a small martini glass or a shot glass. If you have enough time, try making this maple butter walnut biscotti, which can be made well in advance of your Mother’s Day brunch. If you are short on time, this maple walnut shortbread is easy to make, using only five ingredients. Be sure to set aside some extra cookies – wrap them in cellophane with a ribbon tied around. You can give this package to mom (and any other brunch guests) as a tasty homemade gift. Something savoury Asparagus is not only chock full of fiber, folate and vitamins, it’s also a versatile vegetable and it happens to be in season in the spring. Here are a few ways to incorporate this veggie into some savoury dishes for your Mother’s Day brunch: These parmesan and asparagus prosciutto roll-ups can serve as a flavourful main dish for your brunch. You can prepare these ahead the night before and then cook them in the morning. There are a few different ways you can make this smoked chicken and asparagus quiche. For a lighter version, skip the pie crust and prepare this as a frittata. Or you can make this a vegetarian main by swapping the chicken for some red peppers (look for Ontario greenhouse grown) and adding some extra asparagus. Try serving this dish with a simple green salad and whole grain bread. Asparagus makes a great appetizer or side dish. In this lemon-roasted asparagus gratin, a crispy cheese topping pairs nicely with lemony asparagus. You can also make a spring asparagus soup by sautéing a few bunches of asparagus in butter, adding some chicken broth, puréeing once the asparagus is tender and then stirring in some sour cream at the very end. Garnish with asparagus tips before serving to your guests. Something to sip Make a unique drink for mom for her special brunch. Here are a few ideas: A white tea smoothie with rhubarb is refreshing and creatively incorporates this tart ingredient, which is in season in spring. Just add a half-cup of frozen or fresh rhubarb to the recipe. Sparkling water with a splash of rhubarb simple syrup is light and easy to make. For the simple syrup, combine chopped rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the rhubarb is soft and the liquid has thickened. Pour the mixture through a strainer and voilà – you have your simple syrup. You can also mix the rhubarb simple syrup with prosecco, adding a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice – a perfect brunch mimosa just for mom. When setting the table, try including a big pitcher of water infused with fresh or frozen raspberries. The result: pink-coloured water, perfect for Mother’s Day. Final thoughts A homemade brunch won’t only delight your mother on her special day, it’s also a great way to extend family time together, especially if your brunch will include small children. If you’re hosting several family members, try easing your workload by asking everyone to bring a dish. Except for mom, of course!